READ: Judges 19-21, Psalm 79, John 11, Galatians 6
BLOOD AND TREASURE
One of the most troubling narratives in Scripture is that of the Levite and his concubine in Judges 19-21. Why does a Levite have a concubine anyway? In a bizarre series of events, a gang of homosexual Benjaminites want to have sex with the Levite, and his host offers a virgin daughter instead. The concubine is gang raped all night, dies, cut in pieces, and sent throughout Israel. Who needs Hollywood! Repulsed, the people of Israel send an army to punish the tribe of Benjamin (who will not discipline their lewd and violent own). Then the story gets really challenging.
Benjamin (only 26,000 in number), who are the bad guys, defeat the good guys Israel (numbering 400,000), killing 22,000 of the good guys. Israel encourages themselves (Judges 20:22), weep before the Lord until evening, and ask counsel of the Lord. God tells them to keep attacking, and their obedience is rewarded by 18,000 more of their people being killed the next day. Stunned, all the people sit before the Lord until evening, crying, fasting, offering sacrifices, asking counsel again. Again, God tells them to attack, and when they do, thirty more of the good guys are slain before the battle ultimately turns.
“War always means blood and treasure,” Samuel Zwemer said. The turning of the nations always requires the blood of the saints. Caiaphas was correct: It is expedient for one man to die for the people (John 11:50). Tertullian was correct: The Blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. The Scriptures are correct: “What a man sows, that will he reap. God is not mocked” (Gal. 6:7). If we sow our sons and daughters for the glory of God in the cause of mission, we will reap a harvest of souls among the nations…if we do not lose heart. God will not be mocked – He will respond to the death of His saints by a harvest among unreached peoples. The question does not lie in God’s commitment to this promise but in our willingness to let our loved ones die. Jesus loved Lazarus, but He lingered when He heard He was sick and let him die – for the glory of God (John 11:4).
For God to be glorified among all peoples of the earth, not only must missionaries be willing to die, but senders (pastors, families, mission agencies) must be willing to send them to their deaths. I have no worries about the willingness of the soldiers to go to battle; I wonder if the senders will shoulder the crushing responsibility of sending more of their beloved to perish. The greatest pressure in the days to come will be levied against those who mobilize and send missionaries to the fields of martyrdom. Lawsuits, blame, accusations of folly will all increase in mounting indignation against those who commission the innocent to die at the hands of the wicked.
We must trust Jesus enough (that He will not be mocked); we must love the nations enough (that we absorb painful losses and continue to commission); and we must be strong enough to resist not only the arrows of our enemies but the wrath and pain of our friends. Let us resolve now that this war for precious souls is worth our blood and treasure.